Creating the perfect resume and cover letter can put you under a lot of pressure considering 58 percent of resumes have errors in them. That's not to mention 17 percent of hiring managers believe one spelling error sinks a candidate. Use this handy checklist as a guide of things to think about or change with regard to your job search materials in order to keep them from ending up in the discard pile.
Things to Include
Include only your most relevant skills, accomplishments, experience and work history in your resume. Working at three fast food places when you were 16 is great, but those jobs hardly matter once you have a college degree and an accounting internship. Every keyword you decide to mine from the job listing should go in relevant resume categories and in your letter's personalized story.
Both the letter and resume need to have quantifiable accomplishments that employers can verify. These accomplishments help you stand out from other candidates.
Have just one contact phone number, email and LinkedIn profile. These pieces of information should be current and accurate so an employer can easily get a hold of you for an interview.
Things to Remove
Leave off items that could reveal your age, such as a year of graduation. Don't mention anything about salary or personal information regarding hobbies; keep the resume strictly about professional attributes that get you the job.
Go through and find any past job more than 15 years old and delete it from your resume. An employer wants to know your most recent experience as opposed to items in the distant past.
Spell check your resume to catch any obvious spelling errors. Then read over your document a few times, out loud, to discover any other errors that might trip a human reader. Give your document to someone else to peruse to see what that person thinks.
Proofread your letter to make sure the person you address is the person responsible for hiring you. Research this person's name and spell it correctly.
Save your resume as a Microsoft Word or WordPad file. PDF documents aren't always readable to applicant tracking systems.
Bulleted lists are your friends on the resume. Group your skills and qualifications together to focus the reader's attention to those areas. Include plenty of white space so the page looks less jumbled.
Personalize your resume and cover letter to the position at hand. Both documents focus on your best positive characteristics and your strengths. The letter includes a personal story about why you're passionate about working for the company. Show how your values and mission of the company align because this introduces how you are the perfect fit for the company.
All you need is a little tweaking to make a dynamite resume and cover letter if you already have these things saved in your computer. Dust them off, shake out the cobwebs and create revamped documents that get past the applicant trackers and human eyes with this simple checklist.
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